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November 2001 Busch Series Archive

  • #98 Almost Done UPDATE closed up Sawyer Looking: Things weren’t going well in the sponsorship search for Elton Sawyer’s #98 Michael Kranefuss-owned BGN team, and now the situation has gotten much worse. Less than a week after Sawyer finished second at Homestead, General Manager Marty Gaunt resigned immediately after a Nov. 15 team meeting in which he told crew members to begin looking for other jobs. Crew chief Ricky Viers also left to move to Richard Childress Racing, where he’ll reportedly take over as crew chief for Johnny Sauter’s #2 team. Kranefuss has a deadline of Dec. 1 for landing sponsorship, at which point the team will go the way of the dinosaur and its shop will reportedly be sold to, leased or rented by BAM Racing, a new team for which Rich Bickle attempted to qualify for Homestead’s recent Winston Cup event. Like Sawyer, Kranefuss was left dumbfounded by the team’s inability to attract a sponsor. (Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(11-22-2001)
    UPDATE: MK Racing has closed the doors on its BGN team. The team, owned by Michael Kranefuss, fielded the #98 Ford of Elton Sawyer. Sawyer had said for the last month of the season that his sponsor, Starter, an athletic apparel company, was leaving the team. The team said that if no sponsor could be found, the doors of the operation would be closed.(NASCAR.com)(11-29-2001)
  • Big Fan Racing and Hooper: The #89 Big Fan Racing 2002 will be attempting to provide Lance Hooper with a ride when and as they find sponsorship for races in 2002. At this time they are searching for sponsorship. The crew chief is Robin Finley and engines motors come from Richard Jackson Motorsports(11-27-2001)
  • Johnny Sauter full time in the #2: Johnny Sauter will compete in the entire 2002 BGN schedule in Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #2 ACDelco Chevy instead of splitting driving chores with 2001 champion Kevin Harvick. The original plan was to bring the 23-year-old Wisconsin native up slowly. He was tapped to compete only in the stand-alone events while Harvick would compete in the races that were companion races with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Sauter’s strong showing in the five races he ran for RCR in the #21 Rockwell Automation/Brant Motorsports Chevy, as well as the desire to increase the focus for the BGN and Cup programs, was the reason for the change. Harvick is tentatively scheduled to run up to three races next season in a third RCR Busch Series car.(RCR Site)(11-16-2001)
  • Grubb out of the #37 at end of season? Bodine or Purvis In? UPDATE 4 Purvis In: hearing that current #37 Timber Wolf/Brewco driver, Kevin Grubb will not return to the team in 2002 and that Geoffrey Bodine and Jeff Purvis are up for that ride in 2002, no word on what Grubb will do(11-2-2001)
    UPDATE: In response to many questions concerning Kevin Grubb and the #37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet, Clarence Brewer Jr., owner of Brewco Motorsports and the #37 team, made the following statement: “Kevin Grubb has a contract through the current 2001 season with Brewco Motorsports. Brewco Motorsports will announce their plans for the #37 Timber Wolf Team within the next two weeks.”(11-7-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Purvis will be the new driver of the #37 Chevy(11-8-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Kevin Grubb is unsigned for 2002, but isn’t worried. Grubb said he is talking with several team owners about next season. One owner missing from his list is Clarence Brewer. After a month of contract negotiations, the two have decided not to stay together for a fourth season. Grubb said he would like to stay in the Busch series next season but wouldn’t turn down a Winston Cup offer if the right one came along. For now, he is listening to owners and trying to make a decision. There’s no deadline pressure. As long as he signs with a team in time for Daytona testing in January, Grubb said he will be happy.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-10-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Clarence Brewer Jr., Owner, and Todd Wilkerson, President and General Manager of Brewco Motorsports, Inc. announced today that Jeff Purvis has been signed to drive the #37 Timber Wolf Chevrolets in the BGN next season. The contract was signed at the Central City, Kentucky headquarters of Brewco Motorsports.(Brewco PR)(11-13-2001)
  • Tim Sauter to announce 2002 plans at Homestead UPDATE: Tim Sauter and the #19 AP Performance team will announce their 2002 NASCAR Busch Series plans in a Press Conference to be held in the Infield Media Interview Room at Miami Homestead Speedway on Friday(11-8-2001)
    UPDATE: AP Performance Racing, which won the ASA championships in 1999 and 2001, will run a full season in the BGN in 2002 with driver Tim Sauter. Sauter won the 1999 ASA title with AP Racing, while his younger brother, Johnny Sauter, won the title with the team this season. The group has purchased the race shop of former Winston Cup driver Ernie Irvan, located in Mooresville, N.C., and a fleet of Chevrolets fielded by Reiser Enterprises and driver Matt Kenseth. The vehicles will be updated to 2002 specifications and outfitted with engines from Amick Motorsports. The team has not secured sponsorship for 2002 as yet and will run the logo of US 131 Motorsports Park, a Martin, Mich., drag strip and oval track operated by the owners of the team.(That’s Racin’)(11-13-2001)
  • ppc gets Yates: The ppc Racing operation, which has fielded the BGN cars of #10-Jeff Green and #57-Jason Keller, is moving to Robert Yates engines next season. The team has used Roush engines. Scott Riggs will take over Green’s #10 car next season as Green is moving to the #30 AOL Cup ride(That’s Racin’)(11-11-2001)
  • Bodine out of the #66? Mears In? UPDATE 3: hearing that Geoffrey Bodine and Welliver acing eill part ways from the #66 Phillips 66 BGN chevy after the Rockingham race this weekend and that Casey Mears will be his replacement starting at Homestead for the final BGN race of the 2001 season(11-2-2001)
    UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine has been fired by Welliver-Jesell Motorsports as driver of the #66 BGN car, effective after this weekend’s race at Rockingham, N.C. The news was confirmed by Bodine’s spokesperson, Lisa Cox. She said Bodine, oldest of the three racing brothers from Chemung, was notified by the team on Wednesday. Scott and Jeff Welliver of Elmira, cousins who own the team, could not be reached for comment. Bodine was at North Carolina Speedway on Friday trying to qualify the Phillips 66 Chevrolet for today’s Sam’s Club 200. Cox said Bodine was disappointed with the firing but was determined to land another ride for the 2002 season. “We’re talking to some teams, but there’s nothing that we can comment on now,” Cox said.(Elmira Star Gazette)(11-3-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Welliver-Jesel Motorsports and Phillips 66 Racing will have a Press Announcement on Friday, November 9, 2001, 12:00noon.et at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Infield Meeting Room to set their plans for 2002 Racing Season(IMG Motorsports PR)(11-7-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Casey Mears, the son of off-road racer Roger Mears and the nephew of CART legend Rick Mears, will replace Geoffrey Bodine at Homestead and could wind up in the organization’s Phillips 66-sponsored entry full time next year.(Winston Cup Scene)(11-8-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Scott Welliver and Wayne Jesel, partners of Welliver-Jesel Motorsports, announced they have signed Casey Mears to pilot the #66 Phillips 66 BGN car. The move is effective immediately beginning with this weekend’s BGN race at Homestead. Mears is the 23-year-old nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and son of off-road racing great Roger Mears. This isn’t the first time the Bakersfield, Calif., native has been behind the wheel of a stock car. Mears finished ninth in his one ARCA start at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2001. Following his Homestead debut, Mears will run the full Busch Series schedule in 2002 in the No. 66 while competing for rookie of the year honors. The #66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet will carry some new colors this weekend in Miami. The car will be painted purple and carry the INJEX name. INJEX is a 2-Cycle motor oil produced by Phillips 66.. INJEX is recommended for use in outboard motors and other small 2-cycle engines. The oil, much like the car, is dyed purple for easy identification. (IMG Motorsports PR)(11-10-2001)
  • Nemecheck wins at Homestead: One week after scoring his second Winston Cup victory, #87-Joe Nemechek returned to victory lane, this time in Saturday’s BGN race at Homestead. Nemechek’s win was his third at the track on which his younger brother John died in a wreck in a NASCAR CTS race in 1997. Rounding out the top-five were #98-Elton Sawyer, #60-Greg Biffle, #23-Scott Wimmer and #17-Matt Kenseth. #66-Casey Mears finished 28th and #30-Christian Fittipaldi finished 39th in the BGN debuts. As for the points, #2-Kevin Harvick finished the season with a 124-point lead over runner-up #10-Jeff Green, last season’s champion. Green’s teammate at ppc Racing, #57-Jason Keller, was third, 60-Greg Biffle fourth and #98-Elton Sawyer fifth. See That’s Racin’ for GNC Live Well 300 results(11-10-2001)
  • Hamilton Jr and 2002 UPDATE: #26-Bobby Hamilton Jr. is taking a “wait-and-see” tact concerning his return to Carroll Racing next season, and admits that he’s looking at different options for 2002. Owner Dave Carroll had landed sponsorship for Blaise Alexander to run the full Busch Series schedule next year. But after the driver’s fatal accident in an Oct. 4 ARCA event at Charlotte, there’s been no word on what happens with the sponsorship.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(10-25-2001)
    UPDATE: ….although he wouldn’t discuss his plans for next year, Hamilton Jr does have two deals in the works. One thing is certain, he will not be returning to the No. 26 in 2002.(NASCAR.com)(11-10-2001)
  • Jeff Green on pole at Homestead: #10-Jeff Green won the pole with a speed of 150.939mph, #02-Ryan Newman was 2nd fastest. #66-Casey Mears will start 21st and #30-Christian Fittipaldi will start 33rd in the BGN debuts. All three Sauter brothers made the race: Jay(34th), Tim(19th) and Johnny(35th). See That’s Racin’ for GNC Live Well 300 lineup(11-9-2001)
  • Green out of the #34? rumor at NASCAR.com has David Green, driver of the #34 AFG Industries Chevy, being given his release papers, effective immediately after this weekend’s BGN season finale at Homestead(NASCAR.com Buzz)(11-8-2001)
  • Reduced Field Sizes? NASCAR officials have hinted lately that BGN fields might be reduced to 36 cars in 2002, an obvious casualty of our nation’s staggering economy. Given that at least three of the BGN top-10 teams — the # 17, 74 and 98 (not #48 as CNN/SI originally had listed in the story) cars — have stated that, barring major developments, they will not run full schedules in 2002, it’s clear that the series has a few problems. It’s equally clear that NASCAR can and has weathered hard times, but given that a number of Busch races this year have been run without a full complement of cars, the move to a smaller field might save the series some potential embarrassment(CNN/SI)(11-7-2001)
    UPDATE: been informed that both the #48 Team and the #74 Team plan to run a FULL 2002 BGN schedule and that the #74 and driver Chad Little plan to attempt up to ten Winston Cup races(11-8-2001)
  • Hamilton Jr leaving the #26? Bobby Hamilton Jr. is probably leaving Carroll Racing at the end of the year, with both sides exploring other options. At least team owner Dave Carroll’s backing from Dr. Pepper is secure(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(11-8-2001)
  • Welliver Racing to Dodge? UPDATE: …..Welliver Racing [#’s 34,36,66] is going to be the first Busch program to run Dodge Intrepids full time.(NASCAR.com – Tracksmack)(11-7-2001)
    UPDATE: The teams are also switching from Chevrolet to Dodge, and with AFG leaving at the end of the year, a sponsor hasn’t been secured for David Green’s effort. As a result, it faces a very real chance of shutting down. The switch to Dodge won’t be funded by the manufacturer.(Winston Cup Scene)(11-8-2001)
  • Fittipaldi to run BGN at Homestead UPDATE 2 #48 needs a 2002 sponsor and a 2nd team: Christian Fittipaldi, who has been a full-time CART driver since 1995, will be taking what is becoming a familiar route for open-wheel drivers as he will attempt to qualify and race in the BGN race at Homestead. Fittipaldi, who has never tried his hand at stock-car racing before, will be running with Innovative Motorsports as a teammate to [#48] Kenny Wallace’s Chevrolet.(SpeedVision)(10-30-2001)
    UPDATE: Fittipaldi will drive the #30 Mike’s Hard Lemonade Chevy in the Miami 300 BGN race. ALSO: Goulds Pumps will return next year to the #48 BGN car driven by Kenny Wallace in 2002, BUT NOT as the primary sponsor. Goulds will become a major associate sponsor and Innovative is currently searching for a primary sponsor for the 48 car.(10-31-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Team owner George de Bidart is confident he’ll be able to land a replacement, but even without one, he insists he’ll run Wallace full-time and Shane Hmiel in a limited schedule. Plans for Christian Fittipaldi, who’ll drive a de Bidart-owned car at Homestead, would depend on sponsorship.(Winston Cup Scene)(11-8-2001)
  • Homestead BGN Sponsor: General Nutrition Centers (GNC Live Well) announced it has signed to be the title sponsor of the BGN race in Miami. The GNC Live Well 300 is scheduled for Nov. 10 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The season-ending NASCAR Busch Series event will be broadcast live at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC.(GNC PR)(11-7-2001)
  • Compton in the #59 at Homestead: Stacy Compton will drive the #59 ST Motorsports Chevy at Homestead. Jeff Purvis was scheduled to drive the car, but says he has an offer from a team closer to home(FSN’s Totally NASCAR) [#37 Brewco car possibly?] AND “We thought we had settled a deal with Jeff Purvis to drive for the next two seasons,” commented team owner Tad Geschickter. “We have run up front during our trial period together and everyone communicated well. On Tuesday, he surprised me with a call to say that he had an offer closer to his home in Tennessee and that it was real persuasive. I was shocked, we had agreed to a deal, but we hadn’t signed any documents yet.” Compton’s Winston Cup [#92 Dodge] team is still in search of sponsorship for next season and Compton is leaving his options open.(ST Motorsports PR)(11-7-2001)
  • Jay Sauter in the #25 at HMS, Special Scheme: Team Rensi Motorsports will honor the 226th birthday of the United States Marine Corps at Homestead on November 10, 2001 with special paint scheme on the #25 Team Marines Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Jay Sauter will drive the #25 Chevy at Homestead. Ed Rensi, co-owner of Team Rensi Motorsports: “We are very honored to be able to take part in celebrating the 226th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. In light of the tragic events that took place on September 11th, being able to take part in such a patriotic celebration means a lot to everyone at Team Rensi Motorsports.” The day will also be a very special one for Team Marines Racing transport driver and catch can man, Scott Weston.. Weston, who served in the Untied States Marine Corps from 1975-1979 will be recognized by Major Rob Winchester for his dedication to Team Marines Racing. Winchester will present Weston with a sword he earned for being Recruiter of the Year in 1985. The sword represents the hard work and faithful service Weston has shown towards his team. Three Sauters will run a BGN race for first time: #25-Jay, #21-Johnny and #19-Tim).(Tailwind Sports PR)(11-7-2001)
  • Kenny Wallace wins at Rockingham – Harvick wins the BGN title: #48-Kenny Wallace came away a winner and #2-Kevin Harvick a Grand National series champion at Rockigham. On a restart with one lap remaining in Saturday’s Sam’s Club 200 at North Carolina Speedway, leader #10-Jeff Green suddenly fell off the pace, which allowed Wallace, who was running second, to move into the lead. Wallace then held off a charging Matt Kenseth by .541 seconds for his first NASCAR Grand National series victory since September 1996 at Richmond, Va. Mike McLaughlin finished third, Jason Keller fourth and Harvick fifth. Green, who ran out of gas on the restart, ended up ninth.(That’s Racin’), see That’s Racin’ for the Sam’s Town 200 results or the North Carolina Speedway site for Sam’s Club 200 Results(11-3-2001)
  • Sawyer/MK Racing looking for a sponsor: The #98 MK Racing team driven by Elton Sawyer – in the top-five in BGN points is “beating the bushes” for sponsorship next season, general manager Marty Gaunt said. The team is owned by former Ford Motorsports executive Michael Kranefuss, who brought Gaunt into the team after the pair built the winning combination for the Mobil 1 Taurus NASCAR Winston Cup team. “We.ve talked to a lot a companies. We think somebody is going to step up and take advantage of the winning opportunities with us,” Gaunt said. “Admittedly, we’re starting late. Starter wanted to continue sponsoring us but they’ve undergone some business changes because of the economic climate. We understand what their situation is but it threw us a curve late.” “Everything we.ve done since May has put us in a position to make a hard run at the championship next season,” said Sawyer. “When you look at how much this team has accomplished in a short period of time and how far we.ve come, this is a tremendous opportunity for a sponsor.” Sawyer pointed out the technical advantages Kranefuss had brought into the team, specifically an engineering company, Aletheon Technologies, to assist the team.s current engineer.(Williams Company), no word on Shawna Robinson’s 2002 plans, she also drives for MK Racing(11-3-2001)
  • Newman on the pole at the Rock: #02-Ryan Newman’s lap at 154.007mph won the pole for Saturday’s Sam’s Club 200 at North Carolina Speedway, his sixth in 14 starts this season. #48-Kenny Wallace will start second, while series points leader #2-Kevin Harvick will line up third. Reigning series champion 10-Jeff Green was fourth and rookie #60-Greg Biffle fifth. See That’s Racin’ for the story: Newman wins another BGN pole and for Saturday’s Sam’s Club 200 lineup(11-2-2001)
  • Hernandez hopes to run full BGN in 2002: Mario Hernandez, who made his BGN debut at Memphis recently, is currently working with Highline Performance Group to put together sponsorship to run a limited schedule for the 2002 BGN season. Hernandez has tested a NASCAR Busch Series car several times and has dreamed of competing in the series for years. Hernandez is working toward that goal by associating himself with an established Busch Series team. The Armando Fitz owned Highline Performance Group is working with potential sponsors and Hernandez in hopes of running a partial schedule next year.(Highline PR)(11-1-2001)
  • Lewis gets a sponsor for 2 races: Emerging in NASCAR for the fourth time in the 2001 season, GEICO Direct has agreed to sponsor the #46 Lewis Motorsports BGN car driven by Ashton Lewis, Jr. at the SAM’S CLUB 200 on Saturday, November 3, 2001, in Rockingham, North Carolina and the final race of the season, the Miami 300 on Saturday, November 10, 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Call 1-800-342-9070 or email contactmarketing@geico.com and thank GEICO Direct for their support.(Camp & Associates PR)(11-1-2001)
  • Harvick can clinch at the Rock: Kevin Harvick can clinch the BGN championship by simply finsihing ahead of 2nd place driver #10-Jeff Green Saturday in Rockingham. Harvick has a 198-point lead and needs to leave with a 186 points lead to clinch(11-1-2001)
  • UPS Crew to help out Vickers: #29 BGN driver Brian Vickers will utilize Dale Jarrett¹s #88 UPS pit crew to service the #29 Engineered Machined Products Chevrolet on Saturday, November 3rd in the Sam¹s Club 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham. Vickers, an 18-year-old rookie, will be entering his fourth and final NASCAR Busch Series start of 2001. Jarrett¹s UPS pit crew became available through a favor for Vickers¹ Crew Chief – Patrick Donahue. Donahue and the #88 pit crew previously worked together at Hendrick Motorsports.(BLV Motorsports)(11-1-2001)